BAYTOWN, Texas — Right-hander Chris Sampson was pleased with the outcome and feedback he received from parents, grandparents and guardians Saturday afternoon as host of “Born To Play,” an interactive camp for boys and girls (ages 3-6) at LoneStar Baseball Academy in Baytown, Texas.
The two-hour camp covered the basic skills of baseball and softball, including baserunning, throwing, fielding and hitting off a tee with an aluminum bat and “The Insider Bat” — a specialized training tool designed to teach hitters the proper inside path to the ball.
Sampson credits his wife, Heather, and friend, Eric Oney, for their positive interaction with the kids and overall approach to making the camp a success.
According to the veteran right-hander, there’s no doubt he’ll host a similar camp targeting the same age group at some point in the future.
“We’ll definitely do it again,” Sampson said. “I had a blast working with the kids. I’ve got a kid who is three-years-old and it gave me a chance to interact with him, and all the other kids. Actually, my wife brought this idea to my attention and so did a few of the parents of some of the clients. They’ve been asking if we do anything for the younger kids, like a tee ball camp. We do offer tee ball lessons and there are several parents who bring their kids in who aren’t quite sure how to teach a kid that young.
“My wife was approached by some clients here at LoneStar and she brought it to my attention. I thought, ‘Why not?’ I thought it would be a good time to get [our three-year-old] in there and get him some interaction with other kids. I think it went well. I had a great time. I think the kids had a great time. I think the parents learned a little bit as well. It’s definitely a parent and kid interaction, which is good to spend some family time with your kids.”
Sampson, who will report to minor league camp with the Colorado Rockies organization in early March, is proud to offer LoneStar Baseball Academy as a means for teaching young ballplayers how to play the game properly.
He admits it’s a rewarding feeling to watch several of his clients succeed.
“It feels great,” Sampson said. “I look at the rewarding part as if a kid has come to get lessons from me, it’s rewarding to watch him succeed during the game and to see the physical changes they are going through as far as mechanically and their success on the pitcher’s mound. It’s definitely rewarding when you look at it like that.
“Just knowing that kids you are working with are having a lot of success is very satisfying. They come back and you can see the smiles in their faces. You see that appreciative look that says, ‘Thanks for helping me out and getting me to this point.’ That part is very satisfying and rewarding to me as a coach.”
Sampson makes it a priority to effectively balance his major roles in life — Major League Baseball pitcher, owner of LoneStar Baseball Academy, as well as good husband and father.
He couldn’t do it without the help of his wife, family and instructors at LoneStar.
“During baseball season, thankfully I have an awesome wife,” Sampson said. “She helps out with everything and she’ll visit when we’re out of town. She can basically run the business from the computer. Also, we are still providing the quality instruction, even though I’m off playing. We have guys in here who are highly qualified instructors who work well with kids that I really trust.
“[Former Astros right-handed pitcher] Brandon Backe is coming in and doing lessons. Eric Oney, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a former left-handed pitcher who works great with kids. Daniel Cox and Derek David both work well with kids for hitting.
“I’m truly blessed to be married to a great wife and to have terrific instructors that are very trustworthy. It’s good having surrounded myself with great people, it takes a lot of stress off my shoulders during the season and I can simply concentrate on pitching.”
Interested ballplayers (boys and girls) are welcomed to schedule private lessons at LoneStar Baseball Academy by visiting www.lonestarbat.com or calling 713-503-1229.
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